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February 4, 2012

Men's basketball falls to Bowdoin in overtime, 89-84

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - Bowdoin men's basketball defeated Williams this afternoon in overtime 89-84. The Ephs dropped to 16-6 and 4-4 in the NESCAC with the loss, while the Polar Bears improved to 15-6 and 4-4 in the conference. 

Prior to the game, the Ephs honored their seniors in their final home game in Chandler Gymnasium. James Wang, Brian Emerson and Jordan Mickens have a career 92-20 record. They were a part of a NESCAC title teams in 2010, and helped the Ephs to two runs to the Final Four. 

Wang, who finished the game with 12 points and two assists tonight, has 1456 points and 330 assists for his career. He passed former standout and coach Harry Sheehy tonight for fifth on the Williams Career scoring list, and he is seventh all time in assists. 

"I am disappointed for the seniors that we couldn't send them out the way we all wanted to send them out," Williams head coach Mike Maker said. "Having said that, I can't express enough my gratitude for their contributions on and off the court that have made our basketball program so special." 

Bowdoin was led by Ryan O'Connell, who scored 21 points in the effort, including his one thousandth point early in the first half. Will Hanley added 18 points, including six in overtime, and pulled in a game-high nine rebounds. 

Michael Mayer led the Ephs with 18 points and seven bords, while Nate Robertson scored 15 points and handed out seven assists for the Ephs. 

Williams came out of the gate flat, and Bowdoin jumped at the opportunity. The Ephs started the game 0-7 from the field with two turnovers, and the Polar Bears took advantage, leaping out to a 13-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

The Ephs' bench came in with a spark, though. Led by seven points from Mayer, the Ephs went on a 12-3 run to make the score 15-12 with 12:01 to play in the half. The Ephs finally retied the game at 20-20 with 8:22 to play after a three from Klemm, before Mayer gave the Ephs a lead with a lay-up at the 7:42 mark.

The Ephs went up by as many as seven when Rooke-Ley hit a three just below the left elbow to make the score 31-24, but the Polar Bears hung around. Hanley, who started the half 0-7, scored all six of his first half points in the final 2:10 of the half, and the teams entered the break with the Ephs up 38-34. 

The Ephs came out of the break on fire, going up by as many as 14 in the early going of the second half when Brian Emerson hit a three from the left elbow to make the score 54-40 four minutes into the half. The Ephs appeared to have the game in hand after Hanley picked up his fourth foul with 13:50 to play in the half and the score 57-48. Hanley's exit instead sparked a 10-0 run by the Polar Bears that gave the visitors the lead with 11:08 to play in the half. 

The teams traded scores for the remainder of the half until the 1:48 mark. With the score 75-73 in favor of the visitors, Maker was hit with a technical for arguing a no-call, and the Polar Bears went up 77-73 when O'Connell hit the technical free throws.

Robertson then brought the Ephs back even, as he hit two pairs of free throws that sandwiched a stop by the Ephs. Hanley came down and scored with 39 seconds to play after posting up on the right block, but Robertson responded with a lay-up of his own, and the teams went into overtime tied 79-79. 

The Ephs jumped out to an 83-79 lead in the extra period, but the Polar Bears held the Ephs without a field goal for the remainder of the period, and the Polar Bears tied the game up on a lay-up from Hanley with 2:16 to play. Emerson was fouled at the 1:11 mark and hit one of two free throws to make the score 84-83, but Hanley came down and scored again on the right block to give the Polar Bears the lead. Bowdowin then got a stop on the following possession, and hit their free throws down the stretch to take the 89-84 win. 

"We dug ourselves a big hole to start the game and once again we were able to get ourselves out of that and play really good basketball," Maker said. "I think when you spot a team as talented and experienced as Bowdoin a 14 point lead out of the gate, it's a long way back. We used a lot of energy to take a four point lead at the half, and were even able to go up by double digits ourselves. We weren't communicative enough defensively - we had some missed assignments that gave them some open looks from beyond the arc and some open lay ups. That's uncharacteristic of our team, and it cost us dearly." 

Williams will next takes on Amherst next Friday at 8 p.m. on the road. Bowdoin will face off with with Welseyan, also next Friday at 8 p.m. 

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